Nick Cave sideman and Grinderman multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis may not seem
like the most likely candidate for a signature
axe—heck, he spends half his time playing fiddle. But anyone who witnessed
Warren the Wizard conjure everything from
sweet jangle to hellhound howls from his
Eastwood tenor on the last Grinderman tour
could will understand the massive potential
of both Ellis and this cool, little guitar.
PG Gear Editor Charles Saufley found
that “the string spacing makes fingerpicking
this thing a delight. And adapting clawham-
mer banjo techniques to electric guitar tones
resulted in some very interesting approaches
to both composition and cool-sounding ver-
sions of old folk and country standards.”
And while it’s two strings shy of what most
of us would consider a full house, he also
found the Eastwood to be a guitar of “remark-
able versatility—one that can lend thrilling
new flavors to roots music, Americana, and
internationally flavored jams, as well as worlds
of texture to the music of boundary-obliter-
ating experimentalists.” Trust us, you’ll never
think of four strings the same!
At this point, we could probably call
Strymon relentless. This mad scientists’ club
of tone-tweaking kooks keeps obliterating
expectations about how analog digital signal
processing can sound. But they’re also happy
to exploit digital’s potential to explore more
exotic sounds and analog emulations in the
same unit. And that breadth of vision births
wonders like the TimeLine, a studio-grade
Delay that leaves few permutations of the
effect unexplored in a package that’s surprisingly easy to navigate.
Strymon’s amazing tape delay emulation
technology is just one of the delay options
on a menu that runs from analog delay staples to super-out-there intergalactic textures.
It’s full of cool preset capabilities, filters,
and modulation for coloring your repeats. It
also has an all-around, can-do aura that we
found “infinitely tweakable to suit a musical
situation.” This is one tough-to-top delay.
Chicago amp wiz Tim Schroeder is good
enough to win the favor of noted gear
junkies Jeff Tweedy and Wilco. And these
days, that means you also have the ear of
otherwordly axe genius Nels Cline. The
DB7 is essentially the same amp that
Schroeder built for Cline—one that’s since
become his main squeeze onstage because it
satisfies the sonic alchemist’s need for wide
sonic spectrum and sky-high headroom in
a mid-power amp.
Reviewer Adam Perlmutter found the
6L6-powered, 45-watt DB7 to be “a sustain
machine, making the plainest of sonori-ties a thing of wonder.” He remarked that
the “simple act of hitting a first-position
chord on the guitar summoned a tone that
was uncommonly full-bodied, sweet, and
complex.” Perlmutter was also knocked out
by it’s beauty, quality, and brilliant design.
And if we heard a nicer amp this year,
quite honestly we can’t remember anymore—we still hear the sweet chime of the
DB7 ringing in our ears.